Burdock Root

Nutritional Compound

OVERVIEW

Summary

Burdock, a plant many gardeners think of as a weed, has been used historically as a purifier or blood cleanser, which, not coincidently, is what it’s most well known for today. It’s also said to be a potent diaphoretic, which means it’s used to induce sweating and aiding in the removal of toxins from the body. Its reputation as a blood purifier came from its seeming ability to cleanse the kidneys and urinary tract of excess waste and uric acid. Unfortunately, while supported as an effective herb by herbalists throughout the world, it does lack scientific data.

Other names for Burdock Root

Arctium lappa, Bardane, Clotburr, Beggars Buttons, Gypsy Rhubarb, Wu Shih, Niu Bang

Where to find Burdock Root

A biennial herb (that is, a plant that lasts two years) that’s grown in China, Europe, and the United States. Burdock is also consumed as a vegetable in Japan, where it’s called “Gobo.”

PERFORMANCE BENEFITS

Why athletes use Burdock Root

The only real reason to use burdock is as part of a detoxification program.

HEALTH BENEFITS

Signs of Burdock Root deficiency

No deficiency conditions are known to exist.

Potential uses for Burdock Root

Research indicates that Burdock Root may be useful in the treatment of:

  • Skin conditions, such as eczema or psoriasis

DISCUSSION

More about Burdock Root

Burdock, a plant many gardeners often think of as a weed, has been used historically as a purifier or blood cleanser, which, not coincidently, is what it’s most well known for today. It’s also said to be a potent diaphoretic, which means it’s used to induce sweating and aiding in the removal of toxins from the body. Its reputation as a blood purifier came from its seeming ability to cleanse the kidneys and urinary tract of excess waste and uric acid. Unfortunately, while supported as an effective herb by herbalists throughout the world, it does lack scientific data.

What does it do?

By working on organs such as the liver, kidneys, and bowels, all important in the necessary process of eliminating toxins from the body, burdock has earned its reputation as a potent cleanser and is now often used in combination with other herbs, such as milk thistle, dandelion, etc., for detoxification purposes.

It is also thought to be useful for the relief of skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis, due its potential to eliminate toxins from the liver, which can often be the root cause of these skin problems. It has also been used topically as an ointment or cream for these conditions.

Because burdock stimulates bile secretion and digestive juices, one interesting effect is that it may help increase appetite. It is also thought to possibly regulate blood sugar metabolism, likely partly due to its inulin content. For this reason, diabetics using insulin should consult with their health practitioners before use.

In conclusion

Although burdock has no direct performance benefits, ensuring the body is eliminating all toxins from the body efficiently is vital. Burdock just might play a role in the occasional detoxification plan, but that’s about as far as the use of burdock goes.

NOTES ON USAGE

Amount

When used as a tincture, between 2 and 4 ml per day are consumed. When the dry form is used, between 3 and 6 grams per day may be used, depending on requirements.

Timing

There is no specific best time to use burdock.

Synergists of Burdock Root

Often used in combination with other purifying herbs, such as milk thistle and yellow dock.

Toxicity of Burdock Root

Use of burdock is considered generally safe for use.

Bans and restrictions

None reported.

RELATED RESEARCH

  • Leung, A.Y., and Foster, S., Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients Used in Food, Drugs, and Cosmetics, 2d ed. (New York, John Wiley & Sons, 1996) 107-8.
  • Newall, C.A., et al., Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health-Care Professionals (London, Pharmaceutical Press, 1996) 52-3.